Resistance


  1. What does it mean to resist? When our head interferes with our heart, in our art, when our flow is interrupted, when there is disruption in our receptivity, we are resisting.
  2. Writing itself is resistance.
  3. I went to Barefoot College in Tilonia, one of the poorest villages in rural India. I saw puppets educating elders on matters of social justice and musicians educating children on social change.
  4. A kathak dancer, Mallika Sarabhai goes to villages all over India. She educates women on menstrual hygiene through theatre.
  5. I vomited on stage, an Aftertaste of my arrival in America. It was a play about the international experience.
  6. When I was seven, I wrote an angry letter to my grandfather when he wouldn’t listen. We cannot talk back, we need to respect our elders my culture preaches. I scrunched my letter into a ball and threw it at him. He threw it out of the window.
  7. I spoke about reclaiming my voice, my accent at Naropa.
  8. My parents challenge customer care representatives everytime they answer the phone. My parents’ accent “confuses them”. Dear America, must you only understand the norm?
  9. “What is the relevance of writing? Will it get you a job?” my father said.
  10. I speak perfect English. Are you waiting for me to talk in Hindi, will that make me more exotic? Will that make my activism special? Chutiye saale
  11. Two Indian Americans speak about the terror attacks in a school in Peshawar in broken Hindi at a silent vigil. My friend from Pakistan walks out. Must we always voice that which we don’t understand?
  12. Must we always have a cause to resist?
  13. Can’t we just lie down on the grass and enjoy this sunny day?
  14. Please don’t call my approach radical.
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Reflections


Sometimes I think of kheer, the rice pudding and its coconut richness melting in my mouth at Kothri

Sometimes I think of a yellow saree clad woman with a toothless smile

Sometimes I think of a pond in a barren land

Sometimes I think of home.

Sometimes I think of what home is

In this homeless land without no hope

Sometimes I think of what hope is

And I wonder if humans need tangibility 

I wonder if definitions define us

If our scope is limited to the science and fiction of mind,

If we will ever move beyond

On nights like these I think of my mother’s flu inflected voice croaking through the phone

And I sit inside and hear the yelps of my intoxicated peers

I wonder how two worlds can coexist

If a person is capable of holding more than one land within his soul

I wonder if home means more than India and my mother’s scent to me

I wonder if America will ever mean more than just identity to me.

On nights like these I wonder if I will ever discover home

And I realize some questions are best understood lived.

I am living home, in this homeless country,

With a soul in this godless place

I am living in two worlds at once

And neither at the same time

I wonder if I will ever be the same again.

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